Socratic Method LO5673

Simon Bell (
Fri, 16 Feb 96 11:49:14 0000

Replying to: Socratic Method LO5646


I equate the socratic method with education (from eduction, the drawing
forth of what we already know).

Socrates demonstrates the method in The First Alcibiades and The Meno, I
recommend the version produced by The Shrine of Wisdom, Fintry, Brook,
Godalming, Surrey, UK. This is based upon and extends the work of the
Victorian translator Thomas Taylor.

In educing we recognise that people contain the elements of the answer to
the problems which confront them. The Greeks believed that we all contain
the essential, Ideas which in turn answer all the problems of the
universe. Socrates, as an exponent was dedicated to waking people up to
this essential nature. A very positive view of people and problem/ dramas.

Eduction does not work on inductive or deductive methods, it complements
and contains them but is centred on the idea that we do not need to stuff
ideas into people, rather we need to draw them out. A twofold ignorance
is also indicated. There are those who are ignorant but who are aware of
this and therefore are positive about learning (hopefully most people are
like this). However, there are also those who are ignorant of their
ignorance. These people (like a lot of the 'experts' we meet) think they
know it all already and therefore cannot learn! Ironic.

So, two things arise:

To learn effectively, we must confess our ignorance and, recognise that
we have it in us to learn and to know because this capacity is a basic
part of us and links us to all the ideas of the universe.

Much more could be said but I think, and I hope I express in my practice,
that the method lies as the core of any learning system and certainly the
learning organisation.

Keep in touch with your thinking.

Simon Bell
Systems Department
Open University

-- (Simon Bell)

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